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20% of the questions asked of customer service account for up to 80% of the calls made. The internet of things has placed immense pressure on customer service who are expected to be available via mobile device, social media, website and telephone. This has propelled businesses into increasing customer service automation to save their brand image.

We all dread that phone call to customer service. Not only do we tend to avoid conflict, but it is estimated that nearly 13 hours per year are spent on these calls. Extended wait times increase our frustration and result in an overall poor image of the brand.

To make matters worse, bots (applications that perform automated tasks) have been at the forefront of these customer service interactions for a long time. That bossy robotic voice asking us to enter our personal information before allowing us to continue was employed after businesses recognized a pattern in behavior: 20% of the questions asked made up 80% of the calls.

Known as a “Pareto principle,” businesses introduce robotic automation as a cost saving measure, allowing human customer service representatives more time to deal with complex cases.

Customer service in the digital age, however, faces intense scrutiny as representatives are expected to respond at the press of a button and a negative customer service interaction can go viral. A 2016 US Customer Engagement Index reported that the most important aspect of customer service was the ability of a customer to contact the company in any way and through any channel.

So how can a business maintain a positive customer service image between every single interaction on a mobile device, Twitter, Facebook, website and via telephone? The answer is to introduce artificially intelligent bots “trained” to communicate with customers in a life-like manner.

These bots understand natural language and intent, no matter how it is phrased, and can even change vocabulary and alter their tone depending on the brand. They are programmed with the ability to adjust their future interactions based on mistakes (machine learning), thereby becoming better customer service agents.

Artificially intelligent bots like Siri, Cortana and Alexa have found their way into our everyday lives. Even the historically dismal customer service record of Comcast has sparked the development of Trim, a bot that can negotiate service changes to a customer’s account on their behalf. If that is not enough, LucyPhone is an app that will wait on hold for you.

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